Discussion Forum

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —




— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Wordplay: Irregular Conjugations
An amusing form of wordplay that is more difficult than it appears
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
2013/12/11
2:44pm
Avatar
Glenn
Admin
Forum Posts: 1719
Member Since:
2009/03/03
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

This repressed memory was brought back by Bob’s recent post on middle voice.

When I was in high school, I sat for an exam in which one of the questions dealt with a particular kind of wordplay they called “irregular conjugations.” I still think of these from time to time. As I recall, the instructions explained that an “irregular conjugation” consisted of a set of verb forms for the singular persons. In an ideal “irregular conjugation” the verb for the first person has honorable connotations; second person was objective; third person was pejorative. An ideal “irregular conjugation” accomplished this entirely with verbs, and did not resort to adverbs or adjective phrases.

Actually, it is fairly easy to do with adjectives. And most of the examples you will find make liberal use of adjectives. (e.g. I am firm. You are obstinate. He is pigheaded.) Pish! But entirely with verbs it is much trickier, much more beautiful, and much more satisfying.

I don’t remember what I said on the exam, but I’m sure I came up with some pretty sad specimens.

To start us off, here are two examples:
I quaff; you imbibe; he swigs
I disclose; you divulge; he blabs

Can you eschew the verb to be and come up with really good, high-quality “irregular conjugations”?

2013/12/11
9:13pm
Avatar
Bob Bridges
USA
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 680
Member Since:
2010/08/14
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hm, you’re right, that is harder.   I have a few offerings I think will satisfy the conditions:

  • persuade, manipulate, bully
  • enlighten, lecture, blather
  • direct, boss, tyrannize
  • impress, overawe, terrorize

Then there are some I’m less happy with.   “Consider, focus, obsess”?   Or is “focus, ?, obsess” better, with some intermediate verb in the middle?   And then there’s “concern myself, worry, panic”; I like the progression, but I wish I could find a single word for the first one.

I’m also working on “retreat, flee”, but I can’t figure out what I’d put in the first or middle position.   If we were allowed adverbs it’d be easier:   “I initiate a strategic retreat, you give way, he flees in terror”, that sort of thing.   But to keep it pure is much more difficult.

2013/12/11
11:14pm
Avatar
tromboniator
Alaska
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 489
Member Since:
2009/08/18
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I portray, you impersonate, he apes.

I had a performance (acting) tonight, so it’s on my mind.

2013/12/12
12:44am
Avatar
Glenn
Admin
Forum Posts: 1719
Member Since:
2009/03/03
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Bob Bridges said

I’m also working on “retreat, flee”, but I can’t figure out what I’d put in the first or middle position.  

Nice ones.

How about
I regroup; you retreat; he flees

I specialize; you focus; he obsesses

2013/12/12
6:58am
Avatar
Glenn
Admin
Forum Posts: 1719
Member Since:
2009/03/03
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I captain, you manage, she bosses.

Forum Timezone: America/Los_Angeles

Most Users Ever Online: 1147

Currently Online:
50 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

Heimhenge: 1064

deaconB: 743

Ron Draney: 714

Bob Bridges: 680

RobertB: 552

Robert: 508

tromboniator: 489

Dick: 446

samaphore: 312

dilettante: 287

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 611

Members: 3107

Moderators: 1

Admins: 5

Forum Stats:

Groups: 1

Forums: 1

Topics: 3516

Posts: 18596

Newest Members:

JokerPT, swwagn1, BNMW, sbrewer001, FrankPHarris, chriscmcd, Aerovalyou, esusie, InventingJoy, WordNerdsUnite

Administrators: Martha Barnette: 820, Grant Barrett: 1453, EmmettRedd: 830, Glenn: 1719, timfelten: 0